Northern Lights above Capitol Hill? ‘Best aurora viewing conditions that many of us in the PNW have ever experienced’

(Image: NOAA)

This weekend could be the perfect time to get involved with Capitol Hill’s stargazing community.

A massive solar storm, a new moon, and forecasts calling for clear skies could match up Friday night to create prime a Northern Lights viewing opportunity in the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading

A community of stargazers grows at the summit of Capitol Hill

The moon from a phone attached to Meade LX200 telescope (Image: Noah Anderson)

(Image: Noah Anderson)

Seattle’s spring just might be off to a too-sunny start for locals. On Capitol Hill, turn to the moon.

Local resident Noah Anderson has found a way to to appreciate the beauty of the Seattle sky utilizing the extended night time hours of the Pacific Northwest to practice a challenging but rewarding city hobby: urban stargazing. A community of people who like to look up at the stars has formed that orbits around Capitol Hill’s park space. With days now getting longer, prime star viewing gets a little more challenging. But Anderson says stargazing is one of those rare activities that is a hobby anyone can access. The sky is communal and reminiscent of visiting a museum, he says.

“We can all speak sky.”

Anderson stumbled into stargazing when he and friends experimented with an old childhood “superscope,” Seeking guidance, he connected with the University of Washington astronomy department, which provided him with a professional telescope in need of repair. After refurbishing it with help from a Chicago repair shop, he tested it in Volunteer Park. Passersby expressed interest, leading to the formation of a thriving community of more than 600 members through word-of-mouth invitations and an email list. Meetings now occur regularly, and on dark nights, as the moon smiles down.

There’s no need to tell you how few stars people typically see in Seattle. Who can spot the planets and tell Venus from Sirius? It’s a public good that Anderson and others lug large telescopes to Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Power restored after overnight outage near Volunteer Park

The overnight outage zone reported by City Light

Nearly 500 customers near Volunteer Park spent the night without electricity overnight after an equipment failure caused a transformer fire Thursday night.

Seattle Fire was called to the small fire just after 10:30 PM. The initial outage included only a small swath of 12th Ave and a larger area of about 300 customers around 23rd and John.

Overnight as repairs were undertaken, the outage spread to around 500 customers along 12th and 13th Ave near the park.

Service was reported restored by Friday morning. Seattle City Light says equipment failure caused the outage as temperatures dipped amid moderate winds overnight.

 

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We have a winner — The first daffodil bloom of Seattle ‘spring’ spotted in Volunteer Park

No more callers. We have a winner. The contest to spot the first daffodil bloom in Volunteer Park lasted about three weeks.

The Volunteer Park Trust announced over the weekend that the first photo of a bloom has already come in after a park visitor found the small burst of golden yellow just steps away from the park’s historic conservatory.

CHS reported here in January on the trust’s contest to reward the eagle-eyed visitor who spots the first Volunteer Park daffodil bloom of spring.

Despite the topsy turvy effects of a fading El Niño, Seattle’s official spring is still a long ways off. The first day of spring 2024 is recorded as March 19th. You can turn your clocks forward an hour a week earlier on the 10th.

As for the park, there will be hundreds more where the first came from.  In 2021, volunteers planted 25,000 daffodil bulbs in tribute to Doug Bayley, co-founder of Volunteer Park Trust and “the visionary who conceived of this beautiful and impressive swath of yellow returning permanently every spring.”

 

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Seattle Dyke March marches on as the Seattle Dyke Alliance and its ‘double carabiner’ logo

A scene from the 2023 march

After making major changes to the longstanding Seattle Dyke March last year, the volunteer-run organization is moving forward with a new name and new growth. But the annual Capitol Hill Pride event remains a core. The Seattle Dyke Alliance is looking towards celebrating this summer’s march and its 30th anniversary.

“We wanted to change our name because we are trying to show that we’re trying to do more in the community than just the march,” said Nikki Riggin, communications manager.

The new name comes with a new “double carabiner” logo that slyly shows connected couplings in the shape of a heart.

“In the future, we hope to be a hub of resources for dykes throughout the Seattle area and collaborate with other organizations in the region,” the group says of the new logo.

After years of hosting the march on the neighborhood’s streets, organizers moved fully it into Volunteer Park in 2023. Continue reading

Medical examiner says man found in road at Volunteer Park died of overdose

The King County Medical Examiner says the man who died early Monday morning after being found down in the roadway at Volunteer Park suffered a fatal drug overdose.

Investigators have identified the man as William Gonya. The 67-year-old was found unconscious by a passerby just after 4:30 AM Monday near 14th and Prospect near the park’s water tower and was pronounced dead at the scene after Seattle Fire crews were unsuccessful in reviving him. Continue reading

Man dies after found down in Volunteer Park — UPDATE

A man found down in the road on the southern edge of Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park early Monday died at the scene, Seattle Fire says.

According to emergency radio updates, a passerby found the man in his 60s or 70s down and unconscious at 14th and Prospect near the park’s water tower just after 4:30 AM Monday.

Seattle Police arrived first and called in Seattle Fire. According to SFD updates, the man had suffered a cardiac arrest. Attempts to revive him with CPR were called off about an hour after the man was discovered and the patient was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to witnesses and East Precinct radio updates, SPD taped off the area around the water tower and detectives were called to collect any evidence as onlookers gathered nearby in the busy park.

The Seattle Police Department has not said if the death is considered suspicious.

UPDATE: A department spokesperson said SPD conducted a standard death investigation and is awaiting results of an autopsy from the King County Medical Examiner.

 

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Contest will reward eagle-eyed visitor who spots the first Volunteer Park daffodil bloom of spring

(Image: Volunteer Park Trust)

Thursday is the last time until November that the sun will set in Seattle before 5 PM. Spring is not that far away. The Volunteer Park Trust wants you to be on the lookout for it.

The nonprofit is holding a contest to reward the first person to spot a daffodil blooming in Volunteer Park:

The first person to see and take a photo of a blooming daffodil will win an annual family pass to the Volunteer Park Conservatory (retail value $55). To participate, take a photo of the first blooming daffodil and email us at [email protected]. Make sure to tell us where in the park you found it. The winning photo will be featured in an upcoming newsletter and on our social media channels.

In addition to being a celebration of Seattle spring, the contest is a way to enjoy one of Volunteer Park’s colorful new features. In 2021, the trust’s volunteers planted 25,000 daffodil bulbs in tribute to Doug Bayley, co-founder of Volunteer Park Trust and “the visionary who conceived of this beautiful and impressive swath of yellow returning permanently every spring.”

With that boost, the fields and hills of yellow flowers have become an anticipated spring tradition in the park. This time, visitors will have even more enjoyment watching for the first blooms.

Learn more about the Volunteer Park Trust at volunteerparktrust.org.

 

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Bring your food truck — or yoga class or kid camp or ice cream trailer — to Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park this summer

(Image: Seattle Parks)

The Seattle Parks department is looking for vendors who want to do business in Capitol Hill’s largest parks.

Seattle Parks and Recreation has opened the annual process for proposals for both food concessions and non-food concessions in its city park system including Cal Anderson Park and Volunteer Park.

“Seattle Parks is looking for innovative proposals to provide services in our beloved city parks,” the announcement reads. “From food to non-food services, we want to hear from you.” Continue reading

The Bloch House is Capitol Hill’s latest landmark

(Image: Marvin Anderson Architects)

The Blochs (Image: Marvin Anderson Architects)

The latest landmark on Capitol Hill will be a Tudor Revival style home that has stood on a corner across from Volunteer Park for more than 115 years.

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board last week voted to designate the Bloch House at 15th and Prospect for landmarks protections of the structure’s exterior “and portions of the interior that include: the entry vestibule, foyer, main staircase, dining room, living room, study, rathskeller, and ballroom.”

The board agreed the house is “associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation” and “embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction. The board also declared the structure worthy of protections as an example of “an outstanding work of a designer or builder” — Congratulations, Clayton D. Williams and Arthur Loveless.

By the way, you’ve probably enjoyed some of Arthur’s other work in the neighborhood. Continue reading